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Officials around the world are responding to the shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, the deadliest such incident in the United States in nearly a decade.
In moving remarks Tuesday night, President Biden called it a uniquely American tragedy.
“They have mental health issues, they have domestic disputes in other countries,” he said. “They have people who are lost. But those kinds of mass shootings never happen with the frequency that they happen in America. Why?”
He then called on lawmakers to stand up to the gun lobby.
That same night, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the shooting, as a politician and mother, during an appearance on the Late show with Stephen Colbert. After two consecutive mosque shootings in 2019, New Zealand collected thousands of guns through a nationwide buyout, and lawmakers voted to ban nearly all semi-automatic weapons.
Asked by Colbert how the country was able to take this step, Ardern described New Zealanders as “very pragmatic people”.
“When we saw something like this happen, everyone said never again, and so it was incumbent on us as politicians to respond to that,” she said. “Now we have legitimate needs for firearms in our country, for things like pest control and to protect our biodiversity – but you don’t need a military-style semi-automatic to do that. “
And New Zealand isn’t the only country drawing attention to the US stance on gun control. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin expressed condolences to the families of the victims, but also called the US government hypocritical for failing to act on gun violence at home while attacking foreign countries for their human rights record.
Condolences also poured in from Ukrainian politicians, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who drew parallels between the loss of young, innocent lives in Texas and his own war-torn country.
“The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and of all Americans,” he tweeted.
Pope Francis, while offering prayers, also issued a message on gun politics.
Officials from various countries – including Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom – as well as religious leaders around the world shared messages of shock and sympathy. Read some of their statements below.
19 victims were under 10 years old. Children and teachers have been murdered in a cowardly attack at their school in Texas. We share the shock and grief of the American people, and the rage of those fighting to end the violence.
—Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 25, 2022
My heart breaks for everyone affected by the horrific shooting in Texas today. I think of the parents, families, friends, classmates and colleagues whose lives have been changed forever – Canadians mourn with you and are here for you.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 24, 2022
Horrified by news of a fatal shooting at a Texas elementary school. My thoughts are with the people of Texas and all those affected by this terrible attack.
– Liz Truss (@trussliz) May 25, 2022
Terrible news comes to us this morning from a school in #Uvalde, #Texas. Our thoughts go out to the injured and bereaved of the victims of this inconceivable massacre for which there are almost no words. Our condolences are with you, @POTUSand our American friends.
— Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (@Bundeskanzler) May 25, 2022
“My heart is broken by the Texas elementary school mass shooting. I pray for the children and adults who were killed, and for their families. It’s time to say enough about the gun trade blind.” – Pope Francis pic.twitter.com/1NAzZptURD
— Vatican News (@VaticanNews) May 25, 2022
Deeply saddened by the news of the murder of innocent children in Texas. Sincere condolences to the families of the victims, to the American people and @POTUS about this tragedy. The Ukrainian people share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and of all Americans.
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy (@ZelenskyyUa) May 25, 2022
Absolutely sorry to learn of the shooting at the school in Uvalde and the murder of innocent children and adults. My prayers are with the families of the disappeared and the community.
London stands with Uvalde and all those campaigning to enact laws to end these senseless and devastating attacks.
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) May 25, 2022
Heartbreaking news from Texas today regarding more gun violence. On behalf of all Toronto residents, we send our condolences to the residents of Uvalde as they mourn the murder of 14 innocent children and a teacher at their elementary school.
— John Tory (@TorontosMayor) May 24, 2022